In 2008, Stanley Francis was “pretty banged up” in a motorcycle accident. While wearing a helmet, he was tossed 30 feet into the air, landing face first. After several hours in the ER, doctors assessed his physical injuries (several broken ribs) and made sure there was no severely acute trauma to the brain. Discharged and thankful to be alive, Stanley went home, and within weeks, back to work.
It was at the office that Stanley first noticed changes in his cognitive function. “I had always been able to keep everything mentally cohesive but after the accident, I struggled with completing thoughts and following through,” he said. “I first took note of my struggle with personal interaction during a conference call with a client. I was asked a question that I should have answered diplomatically and thoroughly, but instead, I just abruptly brushed it off and changed the subject.”
“Immediately after that phone call, one of my colleagues suggested that I look into the long-term effects of traumatic brain injury. His daughter had similar struggles after an injury, so he was knowledgeable about both the effects and treatments,” Stanley said.
“After the accident, we focused on getting Stanley’s physical ailments healed,” his wife Carol said. “It was a full year before any other issues were noticed. Stanley was always gifted in analyzing information, digesting it and presenting a summary in a very logical manner. Suddenly it seemed that instead of going from point A to point B in a straight line, he would start and wander around in circles, maybe never arriving at point B at all. Even more, his usual mild-tempered personality was now vacillating between passive and aggressive.”
After an initial appointment with a clinical neuropsychologist, Stanley was referred to the Center for BrainHealth, where researchers were studying the long-term cognitive effects of traumatic brain injury in adults. As part of the study, researchers employed BrainHealth-developed SMART (Strategic Memory Advanced Reasoning Training) strategies with a goal of teaching participants how to better enhance strategic attention, integration of information, and innovation. The methodology and strategies are designed to improve frontal lobe flexibility and function.
“I was very skeptical at first,” he said. “The processes that we were learning seemed, to me, too simple to have an effect. But, after the second session, they began to work.”
In just eight sessions, Stanley noticed dramatic changes in both his personal and professional life. Since completing the study, he has made SMART strategies integral parts of his daily routine. “It’s been profound,” he said. “My life is immeasurably better for having participated in the study.”
“When Stanley began the study at the Center for BrainHealth, it gave him some strategies to cope with changes and a plan to get better,” Carol said. “It gave him hope that life would get back to normal.”
Stanley continued, “I didn’t want to be defined by my traumatic brain injury, and if I had not completed the SMART program, I wouldn’t have the strategies I need to manage my daily life. I’m eternally grateful for the program and the researchers at the Center for BrainHealth for truly changing my life.”